"Young man in a hurry" is a cliché often used in a less than positive way. But for 15-year-old Parker Chase, the phrase is a truism that has led him to become today's youngest IMSA ProDriver. But that honor is merely a mile marker on the journey for Chase. "I'm still making up for the lost time that my dad caused by not letting me start racing when I wanted to!"
The "lost time" Chase refers to dates back to 2008 when he pushed his father, Eric Chase (who also serves as CEO of Chase Racing), to let him start karting. Father and son made a weekend visit to the local kart track where Eric decided the timing was just not right to embark on such a time consuming endeavor. Chase interpreted his father's "no" as "not now" and continued to push the agenda. Persistence won out and in early 2010, he participated in his first karting race at the Hill Country Kart Club in his hometown of New Braunfels, TX.
As a rookie in the Cadet Class, Chase displayed a natural feel behind the wheel and a penchant for learning from his mistakes quickly. The drive that initially saw him wear his father down resurfaced and before the year was out, Chase would find himself competing at the regional and national levels of kart racing.
In 2011 and 2012, the Chase Racing team entered every regional and national event they could attend. Racing alongside kids with significantly more racing experience presented Chase with abundant "learning opportunities" which resulted in his share of tough weekends throughout 2011. In summer of 2012, Chase was involved in a scary accident suffering a broken ankle and was sidelined for part of the 2012 season. But Chase's resolve and hard work paid off and by the end of the 2013 season, Parker Chase was named the Texas Prokart Challenge Champion in the highly competitive Rotax Mini-Max category. This Championship earned him a coveted ticket to the Rotax Grand Finals Invitational Race. In 2014, his freshman season competing in the Rotax Junior-Max category, Chase earned yet another Championship in the Texas Prokart Challenge. This challenge being met, Chase's drive towards the next milestone ignited and he turned his focus towards cars.
Not completely unlike his 2011 season, 2015 would provide new challenges for Chase as he began his career in full-sized racecars with a focus on open-wheel racing. His constant push to the next level was a source of some challenges as the Chase Racing Team found it difficult to locate tracks that would allow such a young driver to test. Undaunted, he set his sights on the F1600 Championship Series and, lifted by his previous experience in karting, put in his work and paid his dues.
Once again the hard work and persistence paid off and in early 2015 Parker Chase became one of the youngest drivers granted a Sports Club Car of America (SCCA) Pro License. With the landscape of open-wheel racing evolving, Chase redirected his attention towards Sports Car Racing. In June of the same year, Chase was granted a National AutoSport Association pro license, and entered his first race ever in a tin-top racecar. In that race, out of a strong field of over 25 drivers, Chase ran up to 2nd place and set the 2nd fastest lap of the race. As he prepared for 2016, Chase finished out the season earning his stripes by traveling the country racing Spec Miata and testing in higher-powered cars.
The 2016 season finds Chase competing in three different series – the Red Bull Global Rally Cross Series, a partial season in the GTS class of the Pirelli World Challenge, and a partial season of the highly competitive IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Series, where he will be the youngest driver ever to compete. "It's a little crazy really," Eric offers. "It seams like yesterday we were putting pedal extenders on his kart and now he's racing a Porsche against veteran drivers twice his age."
The Red Bull Global Rally Cross Series will take Chase from coast to coast in a full season of GRC Lites while he races as part of a partnership between Bryan Herta Rallysport and Chase Rallysport. "I can't tell you how excited I am to have this opportunity. To be associated with a racing legend like Bryan Herta is an honor." Chase's team has also expanded to include manager Stuart Robinson and Hunter Wright of Performance Motorsports Group.
As he moves into three new series in 2016, as usual, merely competing will not be enough. "I have a great team behind me, and even though I'm only fifteen, I've been doing this for over six years now. I know what I have to do to not only succeed at this level, but to get ready for the next one as well. Can't wait to get started." There's no doubt, Parker Chase is in a big hurry.